Titans Go Head Over Heels in Preseason Loss to Patriots

Quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back Jeremy McNichols both somersaulted into the end zone for scores in the team’s 22-17 preseason loss to the New England Patriots on Saturday night at Nissan Stadium.

The flips provided a pair of highlight-reel plays on a night when the Titans showed some encouraging signs in preseason game No.2, despite losing the lead late when back-ups entered the contest.

“Hat’s off to those guys for leaping and stuff,” a smiling A.J. Brown said of the flips. “That was pretty crazy. But I’m going to stay on the ground.”

With a pair of preseason games and three weeks before the team’s regular season opener in Cleveland, however, there’s still plenty of work to be done for the Titans, who finished 9-7 a year ago and out of the playoffs during a year when the Texans and Colts from the AFC South advanced into the postseason.

At this point, the Titans want to keep building positive momentum, with plans to take flight in Cleveland during the regular season opener on September 8. On Saturday night, they made plays on offense and defense, but they also made some blunders.

Mariota completed 6-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown – an 11-yard strike to tight end Delanie Walker — to give the Titans an early lead. Mariota added a two-point conversion in spectacular fashion, which made it 8-0.

On the play, Mariota flipped over the goalline after being hit by Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon, causing fans at Nissan Stadium to hold their collective breath. But Mariota was just fine, and his passer rating (123.8) in three series of action was good, too. Mariota played just one series in the preseason opener at Philadelphia.

“I was getting more grief from my teammates – they told me not to do it again,” Mariota said of the leap, and landing. “I was trying to make a play. In the moment, I played instinctively and tried to get the points.”

Walker’s touchdown was one to celebrate – it was his first game back since Week One of last season, when he suffered a broken ankle in the regular season opener at Miami.

“It felt good just to be out there and get that old feeling back,” Walker said. “I never doubted it.”

Not to be outdone by Mariota’s flip into the end zone, McNichols had an acrobatic score as well, as he flipped into touchdown territory on his 15-yard touchdown catch on a ball thrown by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who replaced Mariota at the start of the second half. The score gave the Titans a 15-8 lead, and they expanded on that lead with a safety in the second quarter after New England was called for holding in the end zone.

On his score, McNichols dove from the two-yard line and crossed the goalline as he sailed out of bounds, an athletic move that drew smiles from everyone, including Mariota, who watched the rest of the game in a baseball cap after an early departure.

“I felt like I was in the air for 10 minutes,” McNichols said. “I didn’t know if I’d scored until I heard the crowd. My teammates were like: ‘Good job, good job.”

Like Mariota, Tannehill played well, completing 7-of-11 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, with a passer rating of 117.2.

Mariota was happy with the way the first team offense ended the night, but he wants to see more consistency. The Titans went three-and-out on their first two drives.

“It wasn’t real good to start off,” Mariota said. “I thought we put together a nice drive at the end, but we have to come out better.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not play in the game.

Instead, Brian Hoyer got the start – and a tough welcome into the game. Titans cornerback Logan Ryan intercepted Hoyer on the second play of the game, and the Patriots didn’t get their first score until after Tennessee’s first-team defense had left the field.

New England first scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Brandon Bolden in the first half. Running back Nick Brossette’s one-yard touchdown run in the second half cut Tennessee’s halftime lead from 17-8 to 17-15 in the third quarter.

The Patriots took a 22-17 late in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jarrett Stidham to receiver Damoun Patterson, and the Titans couldn’t rally.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said the work against New England this week – the team practiced against the Patriots twice leading up to last night’s game – was beneficial.

“It was great,” Vrabel said. “To have a team come in here that is a proven winner, a proven organization, how they operate and how they do things. For us to be able to compete against them for two days and then play a game against them, is always going to be beneficial.”

The Titans face the Pittsburgh Steelers in preseason game No.3 next Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Federowicz’ Go-Ahead Home Run Wins it for Sounds

The game was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning and Tim Federowicz picked the perfect time to hit his first home run of the season for the Sounds. The solo blast gave the Sounds a 4-3 lead and the win on Saturday night.

The first run of the game was scored by the Sounds in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Solak led off with a single to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. After a Ronald Guzman walk, Solak scored on an RBI single by Matt Davidson for the Sounds’ early 1-0 lead.

Solak also led the third inning off with a single and Andy Ibanez followed him with his own single to make it first and third with nobody out. Solak scored after Guzman grounded into a double play. It was then 2-0, Nashville.

Omaha scored their first run in the top of the fourth inning. Former Sound Chase d’Arnaud hit a two-out single. On a hit-and-run, d’Arnaud scored on an RBI double Erich Weiss to cut Nashville’s lead 2-1.

The Storm Chasers tied the game at 2 in the top of the sixth inning on three singles. Erick Mejia led off with the first single and Kelvin Gutierrez followed to put runners on first and second. Mejia scored after d’Arnaud dropped in his third single of the game.

Nashville came right back in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead. Eli White led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Federowicz walked and Solak walked to load the bases with one out. Omaha brought in Andres Machado to halt Nashville’s offense but Ibanez was able to ground into a fielder’s choice to score White. It was then 3-2, Nashville.

The game was tied again by Omaha in the top of the eighth inning. After Jorge Bonafacio walked, he scored on a double by Gutierrez to tie things up at 3.

Federowicz made the magic happen in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out, he blasted a solo home run on top of the Hyundai Deck to grab the 4-3. Reed Garrett came in to close in the ninth inning to seal the victory.

The Sounds look to sweep Omaha in Sunday night’s game. With first pitch at 6:15 p.m., left-hander Wes Benjamin (6-5, 6.01) starting for Nashville and will face Storm Chasers’ starter Eric Skoglund (1-4, 6.59).

Post-Game Notes

– With Saturday’s 4-3 win, the Sounds improved to 56-66 in 2019.

– The Sounds are now 14-5 when Seth Maness starts on the mound.

– Nick Solak extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single in the seventh inning. Solak is hitting .420 (29-for-69) with 15 runs scored, 4 doubles, 6 home runs and 18 RBI during the streak.

Rios Brace Helps Lift Nashville SC to Win at Charlotte

Daniel Rios of Nashville SC[Photo courtesy of]

A Daniel Ríos brace split amongst the two halves, coupled with a long-range Kharlton Belmar goal, powered Nashville Soccer Club to a huge three points with a 3-1 victory at Charlotte Independence on Saturday night. The points moved Nashville SC just two behind first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference.

Nashville opened the scoring early in the 7’ minute with Ríos bagging his first of the night off a corner kick seemingly straight off the training ground. After numerous back and forth passes resulting from a Lebo Moloto corner, Taylor Washington threaded a pass through the defense to Ríos, who blasted the shot over the head of Charlotte keeper Brandon Miller. Miller was left frozen as the ball hit the top of the net.

Midway through the half, Charlotte found an equalizer on its first offensive chance from a scramble in the box, breaking Nashville SC’s 489-minute club-record shutout streak. Forward Enzo Martinez fired a long range shot through traffic, beating keeper Matt Pickens low to the right side of the net.

In the second half, Nashville flexed its offensive muscle as Alan Winn earned a penalty in 54’ minute. Ríos cooly converted two minute later from the spot to give the forward his second of the evening, his third multi-goal match in a NSC uniform and his 17th of the season.

In the 60’ minute, Belmar added a third from outside the box courtesy of a Matt LaGrassa pass. Belmar’s strike was on target and deflected just inside the far post to double the lead. Matt Pickens and the defense salted away the rest of the match to earn all three points.

Here are three takeaways from the win:

1) Six Straight Results

While Nashville’s shutout streak was broken in the match, the result streak stayed very much intact with the two-goal victory. It is the sixth straight result, five of those wins, for the Boys in Gold. In those six matches, Nashville has scored 13 goals and conceded just once in the longest such streak for any team challenging for the top spot in the East.

2) Ríos Keeps Pace

Daniel Ríos is hot on the heels of the USL Championship’s Golden Boot leader, Solomon Asante of Phoenix Rising FC. After Asante scored twice in Phoenix’s 4-2 win on Friday night, Ríos matched Asante on Saturday to remain just one behind him. Asante leads the league with 18 goals this season while Ríos has 17. Nashville’s leading goal scorer is in search of the Championship’s first-ever back-to-back 20 goal seasons after hitting an even 20 last year while on loan with North Carolina FC.

3) LaGrassa Starts, Lancaster Returns

Two of Nashville SC’s key pieces have missed significant time in the last six weeks following injuries suffered on July 6 in Nashville SC’s match at Louisville City FC. In the 3-1 victory on Saturday, Matt LaGrassa earned his first start since the injury, going 60 minutes before being subbed out. Forward Cameron Lancaster saw the field for the first time since his injury as a substitute coming on in the 85’ minute for Ríos. With a two-match week on tap next week, a healthy LaGrassa and Lancaster will be pertinent to Nashville’s continued success in August.

Up Next

Nashville SC will return to First Tennessee Park for a two-match homestand next week starting with an important matchup against New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night. It is the replay of a game postponed following severe weather on June 26. The game will start fresh with a 0-0 scoreline and will go 90 full minutes. All final ticket holders to the match will be able to enter Wednesday’s match with the same ticket.

CCMS Soccer Team to Host Scrimmage Playday

CCMS Soccer Kickin Cancer Playday 2019

The Coffee County Middle School soccer team will host their 15th annual “Kickin Cancer Playday” on Saturday at CCMS.   Six varsity and 6 JV teams will be in action in the all-day event.  The first game is scheduled for 9 AM with the final game set to kick off at 3:30.  The tournament features 30 minute varsity and 20 minute JV games.

The CCMS varsity will play at 9 AM, and 2:50 PM.  The JV Lady Raiders will compete at 9:40 AM and 3:30 PM.  All games will be held at the CCMS soccer field behind the Coffee County Middle School.

Manchester Youth Football League Opens Season at Home on Saturday

MYFL cheerleaders[File Photo]

The Manchester Youth Football League will get their Southern Middle Tennessee Youth Football Association(SMTYFA) season underway on Saturday at Carden-Jarrell Field.  Saturday’s action features a triple-header of games as Manchester plays host to Franklin County.  Due to expected high heat index readings in the afternoon, league officials have moved the starting times up on Saturday.  The Division 1 Raiders will take on Franklin County at 9 AM.  The Division 2 Raiders will kick off at 10:30 and the Division 3 team is set to get underway at noon.

CCMS Volleyball Gets Rivalry Win over Tullahoma

Savannah Cooper of CCMS volleyball

The Coffee County Middle School volleyball team visited Tullahoma on Thursday for a good old-fashioned rivalry game.  In a match you heard here on Thunder Radio, the Lady Raiders rallied to capture a 3 set win.  Coffee Middle won by set scores of 12-25, 25-20 and 15-6 to improve to 2 and 0 on the season.

Coffee County got off to a rocky start as Tullahoma rolled off 9 straight points to break open a close first set.  The Lady Raiders went from trailing 9 to 7 to falling behind 18 to 7 giving Tullahoma a stranglehold on the first set.  In the 2nd set, Coffee Middle rallied from a 19 to 17 deficit to score 8 of the last 9 points and force a decisive 3rd set.  Tullahoma took an early 3 to 0 lead in the 3rd set before Coffee County got 6 straight points to take the lead.  After Tullahoma tied the score at 6, Coffee County scored 9 straight points to capture the rivalry win.   The Lady Raiders got strong service games in their 2 set wins.  Savannah Cooper ripped a pair of aces in the final points of the 2nd set and Katie Lawrence served 3 aces in the final 4 points of the 3rd set to claim the match win.

Lawrence led the Lady Raiders in kills with 5 to go with 3 aces. Cooper led the team in aces with 5 and added 3 kills.  Cooper and Kurry Neel tied for the team lead in digs with 5.  Gracie Campbell led the Lady Raiders in assists with 11.

The Lady Raiders are back in action on Monday when they host conference foe Harris.  Monday’s match will be the home opener for the Lady Raiders.  First serve is scheduled for 5 PM.

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Coffee County CHS Football Grabs Win in Final Scrimmage of Fall

Ethan Baker of Coffee County CHS football

The Coffee County CHS football team closed out the scrimmage portion of their preseason on Thursday night in Cleveland.   The Raiders visited Walker Valley for a “dress rehearsal” scrimmage featuring total game-like conditions including special teams.  Thanks to a huge 4th quarter by the freshmen Red Raiders, Coffee County claimed a 37 to 26 win.

The starters played the entire first half and 1 series of the 2nd half before coming out trailing 20-16.  Coffee County moved the ball well with the first team but a pair of penalties deep in scoring position robbed the Raiders of a pair of scoring opportunities.  C.J. Anthony and Marshall Haney had rushing touchdowns while Ethan Baker was credited with a safety when he forced the punter to kick the ball out of the back of the end zone.  Coach Doug Green called out the good play of Kelvin Verge who had some clutch catches at big moments in the game.  He also praised Colin Ward who had over 100 yards receiving.

The Red Raider freshmen came on to play the 4th quarter against the Walker Valley JV.  The freshmen got 3 touchdowns in their limited minutes as Konor Heaton had a pair of scores and Tyler Luttrell added a score.

“I thought we threw and ran ball well” said Raider head coach Doug Greene.  “We need to do a better good communication on defense and we need to do a better job protecting the football” added Greene.

“(Friday) we will watch film and start polishing what we are doing as our complete focus turns to Franklin County.”  The Red Raiders open the regular season next Friday, August 23rd, when they travel to Winchester to take on Franklin County.  Thunder Radio will once again be your exclusive home for Red Raider broadcasts.  The opening kick-off is set for 7 PM, our live pregame coverage gets underway at 6 PM.

Coffee County CHS Golf Takes Pair of Wins on Thursday

Logan Hale of Coffee County golf in action last season[File Photo]

The Coffee County CHS golf team welcomed Warren County and Grundy County to Willowbrook on Thursday for their home opener.  With neither opponent fielding a women’s team, the Red Raiders were the only Coffee County squad in action.  The Coffee County men defended their home course with a pair of wins in the 9 hole affair.  Coffee County outscored Warren County 173 to 178.  Grundy County was a distant 3rd at 223.

Logan Hale and Chris Robinson carried the mantle for the Red Raiders as each shot matching 41’s for the low rounds of the day.  Chase Hancock carded a 44, David O’Connor had a 47 and Blake Perry fired a 54.

The win Improves Coffee County to 4 and 2 on the season.  The Raider golfers are back on the course on Monday when they welcome Tullahoma and Cannon County to Willowbrook for a 9 hole, three-way match.  That match will get underway at 4 PM.

Coffee County CHS Volleyball Sweeps to Win in Final Scrimmage Game

Amanda Mukai of CHS volleyball[file photo]

The Coffee County CHS volleyball team closed out the scrimmage portion of their preseason on Thursday night welcoming Enrichment Fellowship of Tullahoma to the Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gym.  Coffee County dominated in the 3 set win by set scores of 25-6, 25-11 and 25-13.

“We played really well” said Red Raider head coach Andrew Taylor.  “Offensively, our ball control was outstanding.”  Coffee County attacked with a stunning 38.8% success rate on the night as they had 47 kills to only 7 hitting errors.  The Lady Raiders also captured 42 assists on those 47 kills signaling to the effectiveness of the passing game.

Amanda Mukai led the team in assists with 20.  Sydney Shipley had 4 digs for the Lady Raiders.  Lexi Bryan led the team in kills with 15 and was tied for the team lead in aces with 2.  Abigail Parker finished with 8 kills while Keelie Hillis added 7.

The Lady Raiders open the regular season on Monday night when they welcome old rival Tullahoma to “The Patch.”  First serve is set for 6 PM following the JV game.  Thunder Radio will be on hand to bring you the broadcast as part of the 1st National Bank Hometown Sports Series.  Our live coverage will begin with the pregame show at 5:50.

Westwood Football Falls in Home Opener on Thursday

Brayden Dixon of Westwood football

The Westwood Middle School football team welcomed Eagleville to Dyer-Bouldin Field on Thursday night for their home opener.  It was a pair of big plays by Eagleville and a pair of turnovers by Westwood that sealed the fate for the Rockets. Westwood dropped the conference battle 28 to 8.

After turning the ball over on downs in their first 2 drives of the game, Westwood drove to the Eagleville 34 yard line before throwing an interception on the final play of the 1st half as Eagleville took a 14 to 0 lead into the intermission.  After the Eagles marched down the field for a touchdown on the first drive of the 2nd half, Westwood again drove the ball inside their opponent’s 30 yard line before fumbling the football.  The defense held on the next possession but Eagleville’s punt pinned the Rockets deep.  Brayden Dixon got Westwood on the board with a 54 yard touchdown gallop and tacked on the 2 point conversion to close the gap to 20 to 8.  Eagleville closed the door with a 20 yard touchdown pass in the final minute to end the scoring.

Westwood rolled up 187 yards of total offense as Dixon led the way with 74 yards on 6 carries.  Jayden Carter had 16 carries for 61 yards and Izick Sierra added 54 yards on 10 carries.

The Rockets will be back at home on Monday when they play host to Cannon County.  Kick-off is set for 6:30 PM at Dyer-Bouldin Field.

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